Santos in Oaxaca's Ancient Churches

A study of santos in 16th-century and other churches in Oaxaca, Mexico


By Claire and Richard Stracke
Funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation

In the church of Santo Domingo Yanhuitlán:

Christ carrying the Cross
Christ Child
Christ Child (with Crucifix 1)
Christ seated in the pretorium ("Pensive Christ")
Crucifix 1
Crucifix 2
Main altar
Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Sorrows
Palm Sunday Christ
St. Dominic 1
St. Dominic 2
St. Michael
St. Michael (with Crucifix 1)
St. Peter
St. Raphael (with Crucifix 1)
St. Sebastian
Soledad (?)
Trinity 1
Trinity 2
Unidentified Dominican nun

Unidentified Franciscan
Unidentified saint 1
Unidentified saint 2 (Christopher?)
Unidentified saint 3
Virgin Mary 1
Virgin Mary 2

Other santos not photographed

Tour of the Museum
Tour of the Ayuxi Chapel
Virgin Mary, most likely Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)

Virgin Mary:
There is little sheen to the skin, and the whole figure is rather stylized.

Basis for Identification: Dark garments, sunburst diadem, looking down at white cloth in clasped hands. – The hands of Soledad figures are often held this way holding a cloth (Coixtlahuaca and Teposcolula) or a lily (Etla, Teposcolula2, Tilantongo, Zimatlan), or in the case of Huitzo a bouquet wrapped in cloth.

Site: Church of Santo Domingo Yanhuitlán.

Location: Centered in the retablo at the east end of the north wall of the nave (see note).

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric garments.

Size: About 5 feet (150 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca (Soledad): Achiutla, Santa Ana del Valle, Coixtlahuaca, Cuilapan, Ejutla, Etla, Huitzo, Mitla, Teotitlán, Teposcolula1, Teposcolula2, Tilantongo, Xoxocotlán, Zimatlán.

External Link:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Mater Dolorosa

Next: Continuing along the north wall, we find statues of St. Sebastian and of Christ.

Previous santo

Introduction to the church at Yanhuitlán

Santos Home Page

Note: On this site, references to the cardinal directions always assume that the main altar is at the east end of the church, the narthex or entry area at the west end, and the two walls of the nave on the north and south. (The nave is the long central section.) Actual orientations may differ.

The photo shown here is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. You are free to share or remix it on two conditions: first, that you attribute it to the photographers, Claire and Richard Stracke, without implying any approval of your work on their part; second, that if you alter, transform, or build upon this photo, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.